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Juvenile Arthritis - Symptoms, Causes and treatments

Did you know that Juvenile Arthritis can be treated? Here’s what you need to know about its symptoms, causes and treatment Juvenile arthritis is a common form of arthritis occurring in children below 16 years of age. It can cause swelling, stiffness, and persistent joint pain. In some cases, the children might experience these symptoms for only a couple of months, while in some other cases, they have symptoms for several years.

If your child has juvenile arthritis, you need to seek immediate treatment. Otherwise, it can lead to severe complications like joint damage, eye inflammation, or growth problems. The treatment will be focused on preventing further damage, controlling inflammation and pain, and improving function. Symptoms If you see any of the following symptoms in your child, you have to contact a pediatric rheumatologist near you:

1. Pain - Even if your child is not complaining about the joint pain, you might notice that they are limping, especially after a nap or in the morning. 2. Swelling - Swelling is common, but if it appears in larger joints like the knee, it might be a sign of juvenile arthritis. 3. Stiffness - If your child has become clumsier than usual, especially after naps or in the morning, they might have juvenile arthritis. 4. Fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes - In some cases, a rash on the trunk, swollen lymph nodes, and high fever can be a symptom of arthritis in children. Causes Juvenile arthritis occurs when the immune system of the body starts attacking its own tissues and roles. The exact reason for this condition is not known, but environmental and hereditary factors do play a role. Treatment For treating juvenile arthritis, your doctor will focus on ensuring that your child is able to maintain a normal physical and social activity level. In order to accomplish this, a combination of different strategies is used that helps your child prevent complications, maintain full strength and movement, and get relief from swelling and pain. Here are a few examples of strategies:

1. Medications If your child has juvenile arthritis, medications can be used for decreasing the pain, minimizing potential joint damage, and improving function. Here are some examples of typical medications used to treat juvenile arthritis: • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) • Biologic agents • Corticosteroids 2. Therapies Your doctor might suggest that you take your child to see a physical therapist who can ensure that your child’s joints remain flexible, have muscle tone, and a range of motion. Also known as an occupational therapist, a physical therapist will recommend some protective equipment and best exercises for your child. They might also advise you to protect your child’s joints and ensure a good functional position with the help of joint splints or supports.

3. Surgery Surgery is only needed in the extremely severe cases of juvenile arthritis when all other methods have failed to improve joint function. Home remedies and lifestyle changes As a parent, you can help reduce the effects of juvenile arthritis on your child with a few self-care techniques. These include:

1. Regular exercise - Exercising regularly is crucial for your child as it promotes joint flexibility and muscle strength. You can make them swim as it is a great form of exercise that places less stress on the joints. 2. Applying heat or cold - If your child has juvenile arthritis, they would have to deal with stiffness, especially in the morning. In such cases, they might respond to cold packs. However, if your child prefers warmth, you can use a hot pack or make them take a hot shower or bath, especially in the morning or after physical activity. 3. Eat well - It is possible that your child has a poor appetite because of juvenile arthritis. Also, because of a lack of physical activity or medications, they might gain excess weight. With a healthy diet, your child will be able to maintain the right body weight. It is important that you increase the calcium intake of your child. This is because kids with juvenile arthritis have a risk of developing weak bones due to decreased physical activity, weight-bearing, and use of corticosteroids. It is your responsibility as a parent to support your child and help them cope with this condition. You need to treat them like other kids in the family. You need to allow them to be angry about this condition. Make sure that you make them participate in physical activities while staying in line with the child’s physical therapists and doctor’s recommendations. Visit the Rainbow Children’s Hospital to get consultations from the best pediatric rheumatologist in Delhi and Hyderabad.


Consultant Pediatric Rheumatologist MBBS, DCH, MD (Peds.)

Malviya Nagar,Panchsheel Park